After several weeks of negotiations between Newcastle United and his French club Olympique de Marseille, Newcastle United have confirmed today that they have signed French international Hatem Ben Arfa on loan.
Hatem Ben Arfa – a Newcastle player
The 23-year-old joins on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent transfer for around £5M next summer, and will wear squad number 37 at Newcastle.
The attacking midfielder began his career with Lyon in 2004, where he spent four years and represented his country at youth, under-21 and senior level, and he recently scored for France in their last International against Belgium..
After signing for Newcastle, the 23 year-old said:
“It was always my first choice to come here and I’m delighted to be here.” “I’ve paid real attention to the history of the club and the great players to have played for it, and particularly the supporters and I want to showcase my skills in Newcastle.”
“All I’m waiting for is to show what I can do in front of the public in Newcastle. A lot of my friends in France already know the fans’ reputation. The stadium has an ambiance that is unique and I feel very lucky to have his opportunity.”
His new manager, Chris Hughton said:
“Hatem is a player who we have been tracking for a long time, and what is important is that he is not only a young player who should continue to improve, but somebody who already has a great reputation in the game.”
“We think he will add flair to the squad and we’re confident he’ll fit in well with the team that we have put together here. He will, I am sure, prove to be a great addition.”
“He won’t be available to face Wolves at the weekend, but he’ll come into my thinking for the next game at home to Blackpool. He’s someone who will excite the fans here, who of course have always identified with skillful, attacking players.”
And Newcastle’s Managing Director Derek Llambias, who has to take a lot of credit for pushing this deal though,commented:
“It has taken a lot of hard work behind the scenes to bring in a player of Hatem’s quality, but we really are delighted that he is now here.”
“His signing, along with that of Cheik Tiote, shows our commitment to bringing international class players to St. James’ Park.”
We are delighted Newcastle have managed to sign this lad, and perhaps the famous Newcastle United club still has a lot more drawing power and attraction than we think – after we were so surprisingly relegated 15 months ago – but we’re sure the club is now on a definite upward path – we’re becoming very sure of that.
In a few words, this is a fabulous signing for the Newcastle United club, and we look forward to Ben Arfa producing some magic for the Magpies – and behaving himself too. 😀